Why in the world would a Rep be doing an Illustration Contest?
I’ve been asking myself this same question.
Several of the illustrators that I represent have been contacted by a Rep from New York, asking them to participate in his NEW illustration contest. This Rep has been contacting illustrators that he has found on various illustration websites and sending them information about his contest.
Now, being a Rep myself, I always thought that our main duty and function was to find work for the illustrators that we represent and promote their work. The contest that this Rep is running states that you could win $1000 and an all expense round trip to New York City with the chance to meet with various art directors and present your portfolio. I am trying to figure out how this type of promotion will help the artists on his roster.
Trust me, I know that business has been tough for a lot of people in our industry and everyone is doing what they can to get their name out in front, but is this really the best way? Is doing an Illustration Contest when you are a Rep really the way to go? So I went on the website to see how one would participate and to my surprise found that there is a fee of $25 dollars per entry. Like I said, I know times are tough but to spend so much time and effort on promoting a contest open to all in the industry does not seem like the best way to develop business. I mean, most of the people who will be participating or at least checking out the site will be illustrators. So in turn, the traffic that is generated by this contest will not be potential clients but other hungry illustrators.
Is the Rep doing this contest to make money from the entries? One really has to ask this question to truly understand the reasoning behind this. Does the rep feel that there are not already enough illustration contests out there in the first place that he needs to add another one to the list? The tagline on the Reps website states “ The Future of Award Winning Illustrators” is he referring to “his contest” when he states this?
I am also wondering what the 42 illustrators who he represents think about this contest and how it’s going to bring work in for them.
Additionally, on the site there are several sponsors who have lent their names and logos to promote this new contest. Some quite reputable I might add. Of course, we all know too well that they are also suffering from the impact of the recession and how it has affected their business in the illustration industry. So it’s only natural that they should join forces and together as a group go after as many pieces of the pie as they can get their hands on.
I don’t want to seem overly critical because I love the creative ways that Reps and artists alike are developing business for themselves. We all need to be creative, intuitive, original and forward thinking. Again, as a Rep who has been in the business for over 15 years now, I ask myself, is promoting an international illustration contest something a Rep should do or should we leave it to someone who is not so directly involved?
I will let you all decide for yourselves.